Great Bay, St. Martin (Monday, February 05, 2007) – “The project to introduce electronic voting must unfortunately be postponed until the next elections,” Chairman of the Main Voting Bureau, Lt.-Governor Franklyn Richards announced Saturday.
Richards identified several factors that led to this decision to put off the introduction of e-voting on St. Martin, one of them being the problems the Netherlands and Curacao have been facing concerning the electronic voting machines.
“The government wants to ensure that the voting machines that are acquired for use in Sint Maarten correspond with all the latest requirements concerning the security of use. The secrecy of the vote is a fundamental right of our democracy which should not be jeopardized,” Richards stated.
According to him, electronic voting requires “thorough preparation” not only in the legislative area but also in the organizational field.
“The organization of elections, as is, requires all the attention of the Main Voting Bureau, in order to ensure the elections are fair,” Richards said, adding: “Introducing electronic voting on short notice would require an additional effort which could hamper the overall organization of the elections.”
Richards noted that the personnel of the Census Office and those manning the polling stations as well as the electorate need to be properly trained in the use of the machines. Faced with the choice of going ahead to order the voting machines, which, according to Lt.-Governor Richards, would “possibly not be up to par,” or “postponing the introduction of electronic voting until the next elections,” government opted for the latter.
“In view of the required safeguards surrounding elections, it was decided to postpone,” Richards said.